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Donors Are More Than Wallets

by Gerry Reeder

Fundraising is about converting potential donors into actual donors. However, in the attempt to convert potential donors to actual donors you must realize that donors are more than wallets! This is something that all successful non-profits and charities have realized. Not only have they realized this fact, they have also begun to implement the necessary processes that ensure donors are treated better than a wallet waiting to be exploited.

Why is it important to treat donors like they are worth more to you than what's in their wallet? It is important because donors behave like customers. Just as customers will do business with people they like, donors will give donations to organization they like and they can relate to.

It is one thing for your organization to state in a document or a mission statement that you will begin to show concern for donor relations, but it is a completely different to enmesh a belief in the importance of customer relations in your operations.

If you do not think that showing respect for those that support you is enough of a reason to do just that than you should show respect because relationships equal donations.

These donor relationships are built on a solid foundation of mutual respect and understanding. The greater your fundraising goals and plans, the stronger the relationships will have to be. These relationships are so important that your success is a function of the relationships you will build.

There are some simple steps to follow to build strong donor relations:

  • Step 1 - The first meeting. When you first meet someone that is a potential donor you need to forget about trying to get their money right of the bat. During your first meeting you need to build rapport and trust.

  • Step 2 - Get out from behind the desk.

  • Step 3 - Spend some time getting to know your prospect.

  • Step 4 - Make note of what catches prospects attention.

  • Step 5 - Ask questions. If you want to come to know your prospect you need to ask questions as much as possible. This will help you improve your relationships and hone your messaging.

Remember, donors are more than wallets. Take time to build relationships with them and eventually they will even volunteer donations. Not only will building relationships help you with your current campaign, it will help you find donors and supporters for future campaigns as well.

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